If you’ve hung around church long enough, you have probably heard of “the quiet place”, “prayer closet”, “devotional time” and so on. Pragmatically speaking, this means to set aside some time to practice your spiritual disciplines such as prayer, reading scripture, meditating, etc. But if you are a practicing Christian, you know it’s much deeper than that. It’s not just an external discipline but an internal place we go. It’s a place we access and connect with the presence of God.

There are similar practices in the world and other religions that practice these types of things but they are all rooted in something different. The Christian practice is rooted in the understanding that God’s temple is now our bodies and His presence, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and our committed confession in that, now dwells inside of us.

This place is available to all Christians but not everyone goes there. To be honest, many Christians fall into the “religion” of it all and are satisfied with weekly Bible plans on an app or a daily 5-minute prayer on the way to work. I’m not making fun of those things because they have their place but I’d like to submit to you that there is more.

This practice of the quiet place is seen throughout the Bible but the most impactful, in my mind, is when Jesus practices it. In the gospels of the New Testament, we read of Jesus going off to a secluded place where He connects with the Father. I’m sure He had scriptures that He read and prayers that He said but it seemed deeper than that. We see Him connecting with God.

 Jesus said multiple times that He only does and says what the Father tells Him to do and to say. That means that God was giving Jesus real time direction and commands – not just encouraging thoughts and a stamp of approval because of His prayer discipline.

In Matthew 6, the disciples, the people who followed Jesus, finally asked him, “Lord, will you teach us how to pray?” Why did they ask Him that? The guys following Him were good little Jewish boys and men who knew all the same prayers Jesus knew. Is it possible that there was something different when Jesus prayed? It didn’t seem religious but authentic. They weren’t memorized, rehearsed prayers. They were filled with power from the relationship He had with God.

So, Jesus begins to teach them. He begins by giving them an example. This is how you should pray. “Our Father in heaven”… Did you know this wasn’t a common practice until Jesus? You often heard Him called ‘Lord’, ‘God’, or ‘Yahweh’ but ‘Father’ wasn’t common. Jesus was letting His disciples know that this isn’t just some prescription on how to say a good prayer. He was showing them that prayer was supposed to be an intimate time with your Father.

Right before this prayer, He tells them not to pray like the pagans or Pharisees. Pagans repeated the same prayers or chants mindlessly – a lot like today’s practice of manifesting thoughts or incantations. This practice is often rooted in the same ideology that birthday wishes are, in a selfish want, and not in the hope to connect to the entity you’re praying to.

Also, the Pharisees, who were religious leaders of the day, prayed out in front of everyone to look holy. They knew how to play the religious/church games and looked as if they knew God. The truth was, they were dead inside. At one point, Jesus calls them, “whitewashed tombs’. They looked good on the outside but only death was on the inside.

My hope is that you would practice visiting the quiet place, prayer closet, or unseen place in the right way. That you would know how to internally access the presence of God and hear from Him. That your Christian practice would be real and fruitful, not just a moral obligation.


Pastor Chad